LAVEEN, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Christine Santana says she wouldn't know what to do without a car. "We need it. Especially with our grandkids," she told 3 On Your Side. "It's dependable, and we need it every day."
Christine not only has a 2013 Chrysler, but she also owns a 2006 Nissan SUV. Both cars are getting up in years, so she and her husband thought it was a good idea to purchase an extended warranty just in case either vehicle broke down. "We've had the warranties for two years. We thought it was a peace of mind. We thought if anything goes wrong, they'll cover it," she said.
The warranty company Christine went with is called Car Shield. "They bring in all these celebrities to advertise their business," she said, referring to celebrities like Ice-T who frequently promote the company in commercials.
Christine purchased Car Shield for both of her vehicles and has paid about $100 a month per vehicle for coverage. Over the course of two years, she's paid close to $5,000 and has never submitted a claim for a repair. That is until now when her husband's Nissan recently broke down.
Christine says her husband stopped working about a block from where their house is. He felt something was wrong with his car and saw something leaking underneath. So, he parked the car and walked home. The Nissan was immediately towed to the dealership, where it was determined it needed a new transmission. At the time, Christine thought it was a good thing she had Car Shield.
"Did you think submitting a claim would be pretty easy?" 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper asked. "Absolutely," she replied. Since we never filed a claim before, we thought it would be pretty easy. But that's not the way it happened."
Car Shield said a coolant hose broke, causing the transmission to seize up. And unfortunately, the coolant hose isn't covered on older vehicles like her Nissan. As a result, Car Shield says it won't pay for a new transmission. "It says it right there in black and white that they'll cover it, and they won't cover it," Christine said.
3 On Your Side got involved, and I asked Car Shield to review the issue again. They did, and for the second time, they said they wouldn't pay for a new Nissan transmission because it only failed due to the coolant hose.
Christine says she can't believe it, and from now on, she'll establish a personal car maintenance account on the side so she can pay for repairs herself instead of relying on a warranty.
"The ironic thing is if you would have been paying yourself this whole time, you'd have enough money to pay for a new transmission?" Harper asked.
"Yeah, but we didn't know," she said. "We thought Car Shield would pay for it."
Well, there is some good news. Although Car Shield says its policy won't pay for a new transmission, the company has agreed to return $2,400 back to Christine. That's how much she has spent for her Nissan warranty, and since the company says it's unable to approve the claim, they'll simply return all of her money. I'll let you know when she gets her money in a follow-up report.